WCQ: Sweden Knocks Italy Around, Then Takes First Leg
There was no absence of action in this World Cup qualifier.
However, most of it would've been the chippy sorta stuff you'd expect from hockey teams.
Do know that Italy's national hockey team has more sense than getting into that sorta game with Sweden's.
The Azurri shoulda figured that out for themselves, too.
Ironically, only two yellow cards were given, to Sweden's Marcus Berg and Italy's Marco Verratti. Even that exchange was an advantage for the Blågult, as the little Italian midfielder has been a major player for them.
As if that approach to the game didn't backfire enough on the Italians, it was a body shot that did them in: a booming shot by Swedish substitute Jakob Johansson deflected off a defender and found twine for the first leg's only goal.
Clearly, Italy edged the Swedes, 2-1, on near misses. That's about the only advantage their pedestrian offense could claim.
In both of those misses, though, Blågult -- Blue and Gold -- 'keeper Robin Olsen looked asleep at the switch, and those were the only times. Sweden's lucky he only had to make two saves in the match.
The return leg is in Milan on Mon 13 Nov.
Odds are it'll come down to who snaps out of it first, Olsen or the Azzurri attack.
On goal that is. Italy's probably had enough of the physical stuff.